What is Shinjuku?
Shinjuku is one of the 3 largest area of Tokyo, along with Shibuya and Ikebukuro. But did you know that Shinjuku used to be just a tranquil post town?
During Edo period (1603–1868), this town used to serve as a quiet stopover on a major highway with lots of lodgings. However, after the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, the town turned into the biggest downtown in Japan.
Nowadays, there are gigantic office districts and entertainment districts radiating outwards from Shinjuku station at the center.
What to See?
1. The Western Part: The Commercial and Municipal District
Stepping outside the west exit of Shinjuku station, you will soon find the major shopping facilities, such as Odakyu, Keio department store, Halc, and Lumine. Proceeding farther to the west, you will reach to the Shinjuku downtown area, where you’ll see numerous skyscrapers clumped together. Inside them are located offices and hotels. In 1991, after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government relocated here, this area started to turn into a skyscraper district.
2. The Eastern Part: The Largest Shopping District
To the east of Shinjuku station is Japan’s largest shopping district, where many department stores, specialty shops, and dining establishments stand right next to each other. Night or day, this place never lacks crowds of people. Large commercial establishments compete in the area, such as Isetan, Marui, Barney’s New York, Lumine Est, and Pepe. And in 2012, a major appliances and clothing store, BICQLO, opened and joined the rivalry.
3. The Northern Part: Kabuki-cho
Kabuki-cho, known worldwide as a major entertainment district, is located north of Shinjuku station. Wherever you are in Kabuki-cho, there are always varieties of dining establishments in sight. From dusk until dawn, Kabuki-cho never loses the luminous light of neon.
4. The Southern Part: The Developing District
As more and more people surge to Shinjuku every year, the shopping district has been expanding to the south. Since a pedestrian deck was built between the south exit of Shinjuku station and the Takashimaya department store, another flow of people has been added the area.
Also, a promenade called “Mosaic Street” runs between the south and the west exits of Shinjuku station and is filled with unique shops on the both sides.
Shinjuku used to be a quiet post town in the Edo period. Then it made a huge transformation into a gigantic shopping and amusement district after the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923.
Large shopping establishments and various shops and restaurants are spread throughout the western and eastern districts while skyscrapers stand to the west. World renowned Kabuki-cho is located in the north, and now the city is expanding to the south.
Day or night, Shinjuku never lacks crowds of people.
Did You Know?
Although Shinjuku is filled with modern architecture, if you walk to the north for a few minutes from the west exit of Shinjuku station, you can still find some of old-fashioned scenery. Alongside the Omoide Yokocho (meaning the nostalgic street), you can visit some izakaya that have been running since the World War II.